Implementing policies

Schools play a vital role in promoting the social and emotional development and wellbeing of Australian children and young people.

Each state department of education provides a leadership role in developing policies and guidelines that assist schools to develop their own student safety and wellbeing policies. The following information can be used as a reference about how to develop and implement school policies tailored to the needs of your school community.

Online Safety Team

It is recommended that:
  • at least one member of the online safety team be well-versed technically and familiar with common internet applications used by children and young people
  • at least one member represents school welfare staff
  • at least one member represents management (principal or assistant principal)
  • staff responsible for curriculum development and implementation be represented
  • students and interested parents also be considered — possibly using the existing school management consultation procedures
  • the online safety team operates within guidelines established with the school management.

Where to start

Determine what the school currently does to support and encourage cyber-safe behaviours. This may include auditing existing policies and procedures against the list of recommended policies developed by your State Education Department. Some policies might be covered already, for example, cyberbullying may be adequately covered by an existing bullying or behaviour policy.

Consult with staff, students and parents to identify key cybersafety issues and determine whether current policies and procedures adequately address these issues. It may be useful to draw on student representative councils and school councils.

Consult relevant state and territory education department's policy guidelines.

Research available school focused resources. For example, consider the eSmart Schools resource. This is an easy-to-use, evidence-based system, providing a framework approach to help improve online safety and wellbeing in Australian schools.

Policy development and implementation

Develop and implement draft policies and codes of conduct, including clear incident response flow charts to ensure all staff and, where relevant, parents are aware of how to deal with a breach of a policy or code of conduct. A list of, and links to, common policies and codes of conduct is provided in this section of the website.

  1. Consult with staff, parents and, where appropriate, students on the draft policies and codes of conduct. Revise and redraft in line with feedback and consult again if necessary.
  2. Promote the revised policies and codes of conduct, specifically the rules associated with each policy and the consequences of breaking any rules.
  3. If necessary arrange for policies and codes of conduct to be sent home for parental signature or sighting.
  4. Establish a Cybersafety contact person or several people as a first point of contact for students, staff and parents if a cybersafety issue arises. Promote the Cybersafety contact person to students, staff and parents. This person will initiate and facilitate incident responses in accordance with agreed incident response flow charts and maintain communication between parties involved.
  5. Review policies and procedures annually as technologies, and their use, evolves rapidly.

Staff and student education and development

Plan the inclusion of online safety issues within the curriculum with guidance from relevant education authorities, using both state and territory-provided teaching resources and the eSafety classroom resources provided. Help staff understand how students use technology by encouraging them to visit the relevant education level within the classroom resources section.

Educate the parents

Online safety is a whole of community issue and it is vital that parents are included in the conversation. One way to include parents is to have a representative on the online safety team and to share online safety information. For example, regular newsletter articles about the positive ways students are using technology for as well as about online risks is a great way to keep the topic relevant and interesting for families.

Chatterbox for Parents is a conversational how-to-guide exploring the digital lives our kids lead – when to worry and when to celebrate the benefits the online world brings. Each conversation addresses the specific issues, behaviours and safety essentials to help you make sense of what’s happening behind the screens.

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